Tuesday, 31 July 2012

WIAW - Some of my favourite foods

I decided to do this cute little survey for WIAW this week. It's just a cute little music survey. If you guys have done any, link me to them so I can give them a go!

1. She's So Mean - Matchbox Twenty; The Fighter - Gym Class Heroes; Turn Me On - The Fray; Fun - Amy Meredith; 50 Ways to Say Goodbye - Train. I'm into the pop at the moment haha - this is not an accurate representation of what I usually like - this is just the stuff I feel like at the moment.
2. Holy Grail - Hunters and Collectors
3. Become - Goo Goo Dolls. One of my favourite songs ever.
4. Scars and Stories - The Fray. It's brilliant.
5. Amy Meredith. AGES ago. No one good is coming to Brisbane, except for Coldplay, and I won't be here.
6. Anything by One Direction. I'm not saying this is a good thing.
7. Anything by the Goo Goo Dolls.
8. The Black Parade - My Chemical Romance. This was like the soundtrack to my life in high school.
9. Say You Like Me - We The Kings.
10. Goo Goo Dolls. It always is.
11. Johnny Rzeznik. Haha, I cheated there.
12. Rock. Soft-rock, Indie-rock, rock-pop. Anything like that. You can't tell from this here, but I like a lot of 80's bands and early 90's.
13. Love and Memories - OAR.
14. "Maybe we're all different but we're still the same. We all got the blood of Eden running through our veins...And you feel you're drowning in the shadow of a doubt. Everyone's a miracle in their own way" - Welcome to Wherever You Are - Bon Jovi.
15. Yes. Absolutely.

What about you guys - favourite bands, favourite music? Any thing you can recommend?

And onto the real reason why you're here - the food. As usual, a huge thanks to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for this blogger party. We are meant to be discussing our favourite things about summer this month as part of WIAW. It's winter here. However we were just informed by the news that it is colder in London right now then here. And we're all rugged up in coats and scarves, while everyone in London is in shorts complaining about the heat.

Now, as for summer - I come from a place (FNQ) which is pereptually summer. I always wear dresses, shorts and singlets, I barely wear proper footwear, and I live in a bikini so its easy to jump into the pool at all times of the day. I love that because I am in uni still, I get weeks of holidays to enjoy, so I get to spend some time with my family and some with my friends. I love summer because I like the heat, and I like the rainy, hot days where you curl up on the couch and read a book. I love summer because I love summer fruit. I love summer because my birthday is practically in summer, and because I love having a hot Christmas. I love summer because I can go for picnics, swim in the lakes, go diving without freezing and spend my days reading.

Ok, now I'm done talking. Here is the food from Tuesday:

Breakfast was oats as usual; it's too cold for me to be original. So no pictures - you can't make regular oats and honey look pretty.

Lunch was MBC (Magical Breakfast Cream by Mireille Guiliano - my own version of which will be coming soon. If you haven't heard of this, go look it up. And try it. It is mind-blowingly simple yet delicious. It's also hard to take a decent picture of it. I had mine with fresh strawberries). I also had a piece of whole wheat toast, with ham, pineapple and cheese, grilled for a couple of minutes. I love this combination - it's like healthy pizza!

Dinner was a lamb and potato stew. I threw in some potato, sweet potato, onion, carrot, mushrooms and some herbs. It was served with a slice of sourdough with butter.

For dessert I gave in to a craving I had been having for days. I developed this idea a few days ago and am proud to say I finally made it. It was brilliant. If you want the recipe let me know - it's so simple, barely like a real recipe!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Easy Apple Crumble

So I'm presuming everyone is watching the Olympics? I learnt something pretty cool today. Currently Australia has three medals. Two of these were won by students who attend my university. We're not the biggest university in Australia, and we're not considered the best university in Queensland, purely because we're not as old as some of the others, and we're not a super expensive, private uni. I left home to attend this uni, but it's still considered the best in the state.

But I love it here. And it's really cool to think that if QUT was a country, we'd be 11th.

My favourite events are the swimming, diving, rowing and obviously, the tennis. So, if Lochte and Phelps could just injure themselves, not seriously or anything, just for one race, Australia would really appreciate it. I really want Eamon Sullivan to win gold. Just once. And of course, Andy Murray totally deserves to win gold in the tennis.

So I thought today would be a great day to post this apple crumble. It is incredibly easy to make - it is by far the easiest recipe I have ever used. This is one of the first recipes I have posted which I never really altered from its source. I want to make it perfectly clear that this recipe is very slightly adapted from one of my favourite magazines, Super Food Ideas. Credit goes to Cathie Lonnie.

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Average Cost: $
Main Ingredients: apple, oats, brown sugar
Menu Options:  You can add other fruits to this – pear, strawberry, peach, rhubarb – anything works.
Source: Super Food Ideas, July 2012, Issue 138

Serves 4 – 6, depending on your serving size. Nutritional stats calculated based on serving six, and custard/ice cream not included in stats.

What you need:
-          4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into eights
-          1/3 cup caster sugar
-          1 tbsp lemon juice
-          2 tbsp cold water
-          1/2 cup self raising flour
-          1/3 cup plain flour
-          1 tsp ginger
-          100 g butter, chopped
-          2/3 cup rolled oats
-          1/2 cup brown sugar
-          Custard or ice cream, to serve

What to do:

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius and grease a large oven-proof pan.

In the greased pan, combine chopped apples, caster sugar, lemon juice and cold water. Make sure the apples are coated in the sugar mixture. Cover the pan with foil and bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the fruit is soft and just tender.

While the apples are baking, sift the flours and ginger into a large bowl. Place the chopped butter in the same bowl and using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. It is ok if there are still butter clumps in the mixture, just make sure they are coated in flour.

Add the remaining ingredients (though not the custard/ice cream) and mix well with a wooden spoon.

Remove the apples from the oven and throw away the foil. Cover the slightly soft apples with the crumble mixture. Bake in the oven again for 25 minutes. The crumble should be golden brown and not floury, and, if you are using a glass pan, you should be able to see the apples slightly bubbling.

Serve warm with custard or ice cream. 

Friday, 27 July 2012

Pasta Salad

So this is my 50th post. Wow. I can't believe I've made 50 posts already. If I wasn't so lazy, I'd probablyhave made more than 50.

I had an incredibly productive day today - I figured out what my plot was for an assignment in which we must develop a synopsis for a narrative-driven game, I went to the gym (2.5k on the treadmill, 5k on the bike, and 1k on the stairmaster machine thing), I went food shopping, I baked biscuits and brownies, I cleaned the entire house properly (and I mean properly; everything was dusted, wiped down, sprayed and rewiped), I washed clothes and towels, and now I am finding the energy to blog. And I made corned beef for dinner. I realise writing it down it doesn't sound like much, but it took me all day and I am exhausted. My legs are dying from the gym work, my back from bending over and meticulously checking the floor while vaccuming, and I know I need sleep tonight so I can get up early and watch the Olympics opening ceremony tomorrow. I feel like such a housewife. At 18.

So this will just be a super quick post. Thanks to all of you for your lovely comments on my last blog post - I will let my Aunt know that you all loved her cake. It was as delicious as beautiful, I assure you.

Side note: I just got a delivery. At 5:30 on a Friday. But I'm not complaining - it's Matt Smith's two Doctor Who seasons, to complete my collection. How nerdy.

And so today's post is something simple, healthy and incredibly easy. This pasta salad can be served cold or hot, though given the current cold weather I prefer hot, and takes barely any time to cook. It is incredibly healthy, as it is pretty much just vegetables (and lots of them) and whole meal pasta. And the vegetables I used can be substituted for any that you like or have on hand - eggplant for example.

Is anyone really surprised that my 50th post involves pasta? I'm not. I'm pretty sure everyone who has lived with me isn't surprised either.

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Average Cost: $
Main Ingredients: wholemeal pasta and your choice of veggies.
Menu Options: As I said above, you can change the veggies I used for any of your favourites or whatever you have on hand. However I recommend trying it with my veggies, just to see the favour balance. Don’t be scared off by the ingredient list – this was pretty much way of discovering which of the veggies in my fridge I could use in a cohesive pasta salad. This makes a fantastic side for a summer barbeque, served cold, with some meats and bread. It also makes a delicious dinner in its entirety.

Serves 4 - if you are having this for dinner, this recipe is for four large pasta bowls. If you are serving this as a side, as pasta salad usually is, it would serve a little more. Maybe 6, I honestly don't know, as I haven't tried it out.

What you need:
-          500 g wholemeal pasta
-          ½ - 1 large brown onion
-          2 garlic cloves
-          ½ cup water
-          1 zucchini, diced finely
-          1 cup mushrooms, sliced finely
-          Salt for flavouring
-          3 baby carrots, heads and ends chopped off, diced finely
-          2 tbsp olive oil
-          1 tsp dried chilli
-          2 tsp dried rosemary
-          12-15 cherry tomatoes, halved (amount depends on your taste)
-          1 cup chopped spinach
-          ½ avocado, diced
-          1 tsp dried basil
-          1 tsp dried oregano
-          1 tbsp olive oil
-          2 tsp lemon juice

What to do:

Cook the pasta as per packet directions. Or, do as I do, and cook the pasta in salted, boiling water for 20 – 30 minutes. Be aware this makes the pasta rather soft, so if you prefer a slightly tougher pasta for pasta salad, cook for less time.

Add the onion and crushed garlic cloves to a frypan over medium heat. One trick is, if you don’t want to use oil, cook your veggies in a frypan with onion and water. Therefore, add the water to the frypan. The pan will make a frying sound, and there will be a lot of steam.

Acting quickly, add the zucchini, mushrooms and carrots. Salt the vegetables accordingly and cook over medium heat for five minutes.

When the water begins to evaporate, add the oil to the frypan. This will be used to cook the remaining vegetables.

Add the chilli and rosemary to the vegetables and continue to cook for 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are starting to soften slightly.

Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for approximately five minutes. Most of the vegetables should be relatively soft, and the tomatoes should be starting to soften. Add the spinach and stir the vegetables until well combined.

Take off heat almost immediately after adding the spinach. You want to wilt the spinach but not really cook it. Make sure the vegetables are well combined.

Drain the pasta water from the pasta. Add the vegetables, chopped avocado, basil, oregano, oil and lemon juice to the saucepan with the pasta in. Stir together until well combined. The pasta should be evenly coated with the vegetables and oil. Add more oil and lemon juice if you want to ensure the pasta is coated or you believe the flavour is not yet right. Serve hot or cold.

Note that most of the vegetables in this dish are cooked, but barely. This is how I prefer them – a slight crunch to the carrots, the sweet tomato juices still flowing, etc. However if you prefer your vegetables a little more cooked, then feel free to alter the cooking times.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

WIAW: Lazy

I know, I know. It's been ages since I've posted. It won't happen again. Last Wednesday I intended to post, but it was the day I came back to Brisbane from home and I didn't get a chance to. The past week I have just been adapting back to life in Brisbane - mostly to the cold. Back home it was always so hot.

It's the Masterchef finale tonight. They just went to an ad break before they announced if Andy had gotten through to the top two. I actually feel nervous. I really want him to win this season.

Anyway, now I am back at uni and back into a routine so I will go back to regular posting. Also, I joined a gym today! I have never been a gym member before, but the gym at the shopping centre next door to my house (I mean this literally) is beautiful, and the people are incredibly friendly. The classes also look amazing, so I'm excited to get going. I've never been excited about a gym before.

So I thought for this week's WIAW I would just go over some recent eats (I unfortunantly didn't record a lot of my eats so these are some random pictures for you all).

BTW, Andy just got through. There is a lot of excitement in this house at the moment.

And as usual, a big thanks to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for hosting this wonderful blogger party.

Sushi from the new sushi place that opened back home - we are a VERY small town, so it's weird to have a sushi shop. One avocado and salmon roll, one prawn and avocado roll. 

My brother's birthday cake, made by my wonderful Aunt. It was delicious, as well as gorgeous. Happy belated birthday, Shaun, btw. 

My dinner plate from my brother's birthday - the typical feast for our family - lasagne, crumbed chicken, potato, salad, pumpkin and sweet potato. 

A pasta salad I made the other day. Will share the recipe soon. 

Apple crumble. Again, recipe will be shared soon. 

One of the best dinners I have had in a while - grilled lemon and rosemary fish, tomato salsa, brown rice and some sourdough bread.

My lunch today - an egg white omelette filled with cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, salmon, spinach and fetta.

Our dinner tonight - rosemary roast lamb, with sweet potato, pumpkin, potato, carrots and sweedes, and a rustic bread roll on the side. It was absolutely fabulous.

So that's about all I have to share with you guys at the moment. Hope you are having a lovely week - can't wait to get back into uni and blogging again. At the moment I'm stressing out a little, because uni has just announced an insane amount of assignments I have to complete this semester - but I suppose it is spread out over the semester so I should be ok. And tomorrow I have my first class at the gym. Wish me luck!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Apple Crumble Tartlets

As I'm writing this I can see my roommates' eyes rolling. I have decided I really like Keith Urban's music. Ok, not everything, but a few songs I can't stop listening to.

Country is not usually the type of music I like. I like the soft rock, indie rock stuff, with a little bit if pop thrown in (there's nothing wrong with a bit of Maroon 5/The Script). I can't imagine getting through the angsty teenage years without My Chemical Romance or The Fray. I can't imagine not feeling the need to dance every time Bon Jovi or Amy Meredith comes on. But by far, the Goo Goo Dolls hold my heart. And I don't just mean 'Iris', which everyone knows. It's the only song they ever play on the radio here - in spite of the fact that they have had 14 number one hits. That's right Shaun, 14.

What about you guys - what do you like to listen to?

Now, what I have made for you today is something I have thought about for a while, and got fooling around in the kitchen the other day and made it. It's not really anything awe-inspiring, but is is simple, delicious and automatically portioned into small tarts, so you can eat a little bit of this sugary dessert and not feel too bad.

The caramalised apples definitely make this dessert amazing. If you get that right, everything else is easy.

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Average Cost: $
Main Ingredients: apple and sugar
Menu Options: I would serve this with ice cream or custard - it makes a simple, yet classic dessert. Can also be eaten cold as a snack, but the warm tartlet straight from the oven is irresistible.

Makes 12 tartlets

What you need:

3 sheets of shortcrust pastry – I used a light version
3-4 granny smith apples – or other tart, baking apples
40 grams butter
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup butter

What to do:

Defrost the shortcrust pastry.

While it is being thawed, peel and core the apples and then slice thinly.

In a large pan, melt the butter and caster sugar over high heat. The sugar should have dissolved into the butter. Be careful not to burn the sugar – you want to create a caramel. Add the apples to the caramel and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the apples are caramelised. This means that the liquid should have been absorbed by the apples, while the apples remain tender and not yet crunchy. Stir the apples frequently while cooking.

While the apples are cooking, combine the remaining dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Remember to sift the flour. Stir well with a wooden spoon. This is the crumble mixture.

Add the butter. Cut the butter into the dry mixture. To do this, use a knife and literally making cutting motions with the knife, so that you are forcing the flour to stick to the butter. Continue to do this until the dry mixture and butter has combined, making the mixture look like large breadcrumbs. If there are a few small clumps of butter left, that is ok.

Spray a 12 hole muffin tray with oil. Using a round object (perhaps a glass) bigger than the muffin holes, make 12 round imprints in the shortcrust pastry and cut out the circles. Mould these into the muffin tray holes, so that they make the base of the tartlet.

Evenly divide the cooked apple mixture between the tartlets. Spoon the crumble mixture over the top of the tartlets. Make sure the mixture is not too thick – you need the crumble to cook at the same speed as the pastry base.

Cook in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes. This will depend on your oven’s cooking speed. Make sure the bases do not burn and are a crunchy golden brown. At the same time, make sure the crumble is a golden brown. It is difficult to do, but make sure the oats look cooked and the flour is not white and raw. If necessary, cook the tartlets for longer, always checking the bases and top.

Serve warm with ice cream or custard for a simple, tasty dessert. In my pictures I paired the tartlet with mango ice cream from a local ice creamery. 

P.S. The lovely Megan over at Weddings and Workouts is having a wonderful giveaway. I'd go and check her blog out if I were you. It's worth it. Just like making this tartlet is.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Tuna Bake

I know, I know. It's been a week since I last posted. I don't really have any excuses. It's my last week with my family before I go back to Brisbane so in my defence, I have been spending a lot of time with them and my friends, and haven't been near the kitchen.

In the past week I looked after my adorable cousins, went out with my high school friends till 4 in the morning (which meant I was like a walking zombie for the next few days), ate Australia's coat of arms (which my brother so happily reminded me of after I had thoroughly enjoyed a tasting plate involving emu, crocodile, kangaroo, buffalo, and barramundi), ate five beautifully cooked yabbies (the resturant gave me six, with a tomato salsa and rice, but I could only get through five), stayed up until 3 in the morning to watch Andy Murray's heroic Wimledon final, went and saw The Amazing Spiderman with my two best friends from high school (we were the only girls in the cinema without boyfriends or family members), booked my hotel in New York (I leave in less than six months now!) and my wonderful parents bought me an I-pad yesterday.

So I've had two days at home in the past week. One was spent barely leaving my bed, and reading every article about Andy Murray and how the world now loves him. Side note: I totally cried when he lost. Mostly when he started crying. He was so brave.

The other day I actually ventured into the kitchen and tried out an idea of mine, which was actually successful, so hopefully I will share that with you next week when I'm home alone and my parents and brother are at work and school.

So today's recipe is something I make frequently when I am too tired or lazy to make a proper dinner, but I still want something more substantial than toast or cereal. It is very easy - I cannot even begin to express how little you have to do here. If you can peel and cut potatoes, you can make this dinner.

In addition to being easy, it is not very time-consuming. If you cut the potatoes small, they will boil quickly, and the actual baking of the dinner does not take too much time.

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Average Cost: $
Main Ingredients: there are only really three – tuna, potato and cheese
Menu Options: You can substitute tuna for any other canned fish. I assume this would even work with fish you have already cooked – potato and fish are obvious food partners.

Serves 2 – 4 people, depending on serving size. The nutritional stats are for four servings.

What you need:
-          3 medium – large potatoes (I used Nadine, but you can use whatever type you prefer. Also, the amount of potato you use depends on how much you want – you can use less if you want).
-          2 tbsp butter
-          ¼ - ½ cup milk
-          4 tins tuna (my tins were 95 g) – I also recommend using tuna without oil or if using tuna in oil, drain the oil before using the tuna in this recipe
-          ¾ cup grated cheese, any kind – I prefer cheddar for this bake

What to do:

Peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes. Place in a saucepan of boiling water (slightly salted water works best) and boil for approximately 20 minutes, or until the potato is soft.

While the potatoes are boiling, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Once the potatoes are boiled, add the milk and butter to the saucepan and mash the potatoes. You can add more or less milk depending on how creamy you want the potatoes to be.

Spray an oven proof tin with oil – this just helps with the cleaning after. I used a glass tin approximately 22 cm x 12.5 cm. Fill the bottom of the tin with tuna – spread the tuna evenly across the bottom. Use more or less tuna depending on taste and size of tin.

Spread the mashed potato over the top of the tuna. Salt the potato to taste if not salty enough.

Add the grated cheese to the top of the potato, spreading evenly.

Bake in an oven for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and slightly bubbling. The top of the mixture should be golden brown.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Simply Chocolate Cake

You can tell the rodeo is coming up soon. My town's rodeo is the biggest in Far North Queensland, and one of the most famous in Australia. The bullriders who come to our rodeo are the best in Australia. At the moment, all the caravans are trickling in and all the parks are full of them. The cowboys and station workers have descended on the town; the pubs are full of them, the shops are full of them and you can't move for the smell of dirt and smoke. Our town is not a big one, but every July, everybody comes out of the woodwork for the rodeo.

The procession, where the Rodeo Queen is elected, is next Friday. Next Saturday, my brother's birthday, is the actual rodeo. His birthday always falls on or near rodeo weekend. Everyone gets a day off work on Friday and town explodes with people; it's this time of the year you realise just what nationalities make up the town.

My family was always heavily involved in the rodeo. In fact, my great grandma was one of the women who set up the whole 'Rodeo Queen' thing. Essentially, a bunch of girls prove they can rope bulls, ride horses, and dance (both square dances and formal dances) and then they dress up and ride on the back of a truck through the procession throwing out candy (the crowd always likes the princess whose candy can last the two circuits of the procession). Then one of those Rodeo Princesses becomes the Rodeo Queen. And she gets to spend the weekend wearing cute little costumes and a sash and dancing around at the rodeo.

Needless to say, not my idea of a good time. People staring at me while I wave and smile and attempt to look pretty (this means taming my hair, so no thanks). Sounds like a nightmare.

But every year I go and watch all the princesses and try to get the best candy. It's weird because this year, I don't know many of the girls who are in the parade. I usually do, but not this year. I guess I've been away too long now.

So, this chocolate cake always makes an appearance at rodeo time. This was the cake Mum always made for me and my brother on our birthday's. Therefore, every rodeo weekend we would have some of this cake with  freshly squeezed orange juice (from our trees). So I decided now would be a great time to make and share it with you.

This cake is unlike most of the chocolate desserts I usually eat and make. It is very light and fluffy, and practically falls apart when you take it out of the oven. It is not rich, not decadent, but sweet and sugary. I find it more difficult to eat because I feel like I can taste the sugar - I prefer darker desserts. However if you like milk chocolate and lighter chocolate desserts, this is for you.

The icing is definitely icing and not ganache. It is thin, a little watery and very easy to spread over the top of the cake. It does not stick like ganache, so you can't cover the entire cake with it. However, it is absolutely perfect with this cake. It is very sweet, but it perfectly matches the fluffy cake.

Be warned, this is not healthy. But if you are looking for a simple cake to make - not a three-tierd, multiple ingredient cake which requires several tins and hours of baking time - you want this. It is simple, practically one bowl, and it never fails to please. After all, who doesn't like something that is simply chocolate?

This is my Mum's recipe - in her recipe book it is titled 'Bev's Chocolate Cake'. So I guess the credit really here goes to Bev. Thanks Bev.

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Average Cost: $
Main Ingredients: cocoa powder – for both the icing and cake.
Occasion: Dessert or a snack. It does make a very easy birthday cake if you are looking for something simple and delectable.
Menu Options: You can make this a darker, richer cake if you want. Simply add chocolate instead of cocoa powder or add chocolate chips for a darker kick. I would recommend serving this cake with milk or fresh orange juice. I know it is a very American thing to do to serve cake with milk, but here, our freshly squeezed orange juice is the perfect match for this cake.

Makes 16 slices – this is how I cut it. You can obviously cut it more or less.These are kind of small slices, but it does lower the calorie count if you are worried about that. However it remains a very high sugar dessert.

What you need:
For the cake:
-          1 ¾ cups self-raising flour
-          1 ½ cups sugar
-          ½ cup cocoa
-          ½ teaspoon bicarbonate soda/baking soda
-          ¼ teaspoon salt
-          125 grams butter, melted (I personally use margarine or canola spread – this is with every recipe I make though, and those who have tried making my food with butter have not found a significant difference, other than calorie wise. I also do all calorie counts as if I was using butter, because I know that is the more common ingredient. Just FYI.)
-          1 cup milk
-          2 eggs

For the icing:
-          1 -> 1 ½ cups icing sugar
-          ½ cup cocoa
-          ½ teaspoon butter
-          6 tbsp milk

What to do:

Preheat an oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and prep a large cake tin – the size is really up to you. The cake rises pretty well I have found, regardless of what tin I bake it in.

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Mix well with a wooden spoon.

Add the melted butter and milk. Using a handheld or stand mixer, mix the ingredients for approximately two minutes. The mixture should be a light chocolate colour, but a little floury.

Add the two eggs at once. Using the mixer, mix the mixture again for two minutes. It should remain a light chocolate colour, but the mixture should have turned runny. It will not be a very thick or gloopy (for lack of a better word) mixture. It will be relatively runny for a cake.

Pour the mixture into a large cake tin and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Be careful not to burn the edges of the cake.

Leave cake to cool, out of tin. Once it has cooled completely, you can ice it.

In a medium sized bowl, sift the icing sugar and cocoa together. Stir well with a spoon. Add the butter and milk and mix together with a handheld or stand mixer. Make sure the mixture is a thin, light brown mixture.

If the mixture is still a little lumpy or dry, add more milk. If the mixture is too runny, add more icing sugar and cocoa.

If you need more icing, or you want a thicker icing than what the pictures show, add more icing sugar and cocoa in equal amounts.

Using a flat knife, spread the mixture of the top of the cake. Only spread of the top of the cake.

When the icing has dried, serve the cake. I recommend serving it with custard – this is a real guilty pleasure of mine. 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

WIAW - Fairytales

My favourite fairytale when I was a kid was The Little Mermaid. Ariel was totally kickass. I was not a Cinderalla/Sleeping Beauty/Snow White fan. The Little Match Girl always made me cry, as did The Ugly Duckling. Beauty and The Beast also made me cry, though now that I'm older, I really appreciate the message of the story. We had the actual fairytales, as well as the children's versions. So I grew up knowing two versions of The Little Mermaid - one where Ariel died, one where she didn't. Either way, she was the best fairytale princess.

I am mentioning this because today and tomorrow I am looking after my two young cousins - they are 5 and 3, both girls, who both love mermaids and princess and pink and glitter pens. And I remember being exactly like that - I always wanted to be a mermaid princess with a pink tail. It's weird how you grow up - I'd still like to be a mermaid or a princess, but you couldn't make me go near pink. And these days, instead of being a princess or mermaid, I want to write about them.

In a relatively related note, my favourite legends are Robin Hood and King Arthur/Merlin. Did anyone ever watch the BBC versions of these shows? Merlin should be back for a fifth season soon, but Robin Hood ran for three seasons a few years ago. Both of these shows are absolutely amazing. I could not recommend them more - expecially if you love classic Brit TV and love the British sense of humour.

Now that I've jumped all over the place, from talking about my favourite fairytales to my favourite legends, I'll get to the point of this post. It's Wednesday, so that means it is WIAW time. I only have two pictures this time - I totally forgot to take pictures this time! As usual, a huge thanks to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for hosting this get together. For the month of July we are focusing on exercise as well as eating well. I have no interesting exercise news to share with you. I run every day for half an hour. That's it.

Oh, and I'm such a bad food blogger - I forgot to take pictures of this amazing lunch I had the other day in Port Douglas with the family. I don't live here (near Port Douglas) anymore, but it's gorgeous. The picture below is a view I grew up with - the Great Barrier Reef was right on my doorstep. And even in winter, the temperature in Far North Queensland hits 30 degrees. So really, there is no winter.

Here is the view from lunch where I enjoyed an oriental crepe with roasted duck as an entree, a goats cheese round encrusted with smashed macademia nuts and honey, served with a trio of tapanede (beetroot, capsicum and olive) and ciabatta for a main meal, and a macademia brownie for dessert:

This is the family - Shaun, Mum, Me and Dad (and Mum, you look great, so you can't yell at me for putting this up :)):

And yes my brother is a giant. We're not a short family.

And here is my food from yesterday. I stuck to three square meals yesterday for some reason. Breakfast was oats (unpictured as they were plain with honey). Lunch was a crumbed veal, mashed potato, cheese and tomato sauce sandwich with pumpkin on the side. It was also like a post workout meal. I don't usually eat white bread but it was all we had, and well, you just can't beat mashed potato sandwiches. I know, carb overload, but they are so amazing. Dinner was garlic butter whole wheat pasta with sauteed mushrooms and baked broccoli, topped with parmesan cheese. Dessert was a few spoonfuls of passionfruit yoghurt.

A huge thanks also goes out to my brother who redid my blog design yesterday! :)